ISL 2020-21 result: Goa knocks Bengaluru out of playoff race

ISL 2021: FC Goa extended its unbeaten run to 12 games as it beat Bengaluru FC 2-1 to improve its chances of sealing an Indian Super League playoff berth.

FC Goa players celebrate Redeem Tlang's goal against Bengaluru FC.   -  ISL/Sportzpics

FC Goa knocked Bengaluru FC (BFC) out of the Indian Super League (ISL 2020-21) playoff qualification race with a 2-1 victory at the Fatorda Stadium on Sunday.

Early goals from Igor Angulo and Redeem Tlang had left BFC with a mountain to climb in a must-win game. Suresh Wangjam’s first-ever ISL strike provided hope, but a solid second-half performance by Goa ensured BFC will not make it into the last four for the first time in its ISL history.

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For Goa, it was a statement win, as it took the lead in what increasingly appears a three-way race with Hyderabad FC and NorthEast United FC for the two remaining playoff spots. Goa is now on 30 points with one game left, while the other two are tied on 27 with two matches remaining.

Earlier in the evening, Goa and BFC spent the first few minutes like how boxers feel each other out in the early rounds of a heavyweight bout. But after that, within a span of three minutes, BFC was torn to bits, part of it its own doing.

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Glan Martins robbed Erik Paartalu off the ball and the resultant pass was turned in by Angulo for his 13th goal of the season. The lead was doubled by Tlang, who capitalised on BFC’s failure to clear the ball and came up with a clean left-footed strike into the bottom corner.

Redeem Tlang

FC Goa's Redeem Tlang celebrates scoring against Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League (ISL 2020-21) on Sunday.   -  ISL/Sportzpics

 

Between the two goals, Goa custodian Dheeraj Singh, who had earlier spilled a catch but was saved by his backline, was lucky to escape when he misplaced a pass straight to Sunil Chhetri.

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On 30 minutes though, BFC sprang to life, with some fine link-up play on the left flank between Udanta Singh and Cleiton Silva. The side’s opener arrived from the same wing when Wangjam skipped past defender Seriton Fernandes and curled it into the top-right corner.

Suresh Wangjam

Bengaluru FC's Suresh Wangjam celebrates scoring against FC Goa in the Indian Super League (ISL 2020-21) on Sunday.   -  ISL/Sportzpics

 

Between then and the end of the half, BFC should have scored at least thrice. Silva planted a free header wide and when he got it on target, the ball bounced off the bar. The Brazilian then saw a glancing header saved by Dheeraj.

The half-time break helped Goa regroup and it nearly put the tie to bed ten minutes after the restart. Angulo beat the offside trap and found himself one-on-one with Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, but his attempted dink bounced wide. Over the next 30 minutes Goa was compact and didn’t allow BFC as much as a sniff, pocketing three important points.